Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mayday! Mayday!

So, the practice of leaving the city for the countryside in order to catch "May" probably has its roots in pre christian times and is probably independent of the calendar itself.

We left Athens on Tuesday morning with a hamper full of goodies lovingly and painstakingly prepared by K during the afternoon and evening of the 30th of April. The plan was to go and visit a sinkhole at Skourta in Boetia, survey it and assist Komni dive the sump at the end of it.

The weather was not so good, cloudy and drizzly. On reaching the sinkhole, we saw that water was running into it, making it potentially dangerous to enter, and certainly dangerous to attempt a dive.

We re-routed the party from the plain of Skourta back onto Mount Parnes and headed for the fort of Phyle. Here we were met with a rather disconcerting spectacle: close to a hundred day trippers each with a portable barbecue and popular music of the most degenerate popular nature blaring from the car radios. We walked up to the fortifications, past one family group which was preparing to barbecue what looked suspiciously like genuine cantral asian shashlik and sat around admiring the view of Athens from the fort. Bored, and having sated our mayday induced urge to gather flowers and weave them into garlands, we split up, some going back home, others for rock climbing and us, with hamper safely in the boot, heading off to make a quick tour of the castles of the Attiko-boetian borderland.

Our tour was not as successful as we may have liked and our sprits were a touch dampened by the lack of sunshine. We drove up some exciting dirt tracks following ministry signposts to castles and forts on the way to the tower at Oinoe, and from there we went on to what was once called the castle of the Gypsies - Gyftokastro, but unsurprisingly this name is being used less and less in favour of the fort's ancient name - Eleutheriai.

This is a nice little fort situated in a very commanding position on top of one of the few roads linking Thebes to Athens, and it is in very good condition.

Google Earth shows it very nicely:

We walked around here for a while and took our hamper to Erythrai. Not finding the fort here (note to MiniCult - what about a signpost guys?), we went on to Plataea, saw the walls of the city, were unimpressed and set off for Kithairon with our hamper, spending about 45minutes trying to squeeze our way through the 4x4 infested streets of Villia.

And there on Kithairon, the scene of Oidipous'exposure, and Aktaions and dismemberment, but also (more happily) the scene of one of our first trips out of Athens with K (before we started going out), and with a rather cold wind blowing, we enjoyed our picnic at 1080m altitude.

Photos and possibly more videos as and when they are processed.

No comments: